Is M&A a Trap for Safety?

March 15 2020
By: Terry L. Mathis

In these days of mergers and acquisitions, I have seen several companies acquire other companies faster than their safety departments could adopt them. Many times, acquired companies get their top tier leaders relieved of duty so the parent company can assume leadership through existing personnel and structures. If the safety leaders of those acquired entities are suddenly gone, the parent company safety folks are rushed to assess the existing programs and attempt to bring the new unit into another way of addressing accident prevention. At one of my client companies, safety was badly losing the race to keep up.

I have advised many clients to include safety in the due diligence phase of acquisition. Is M&A a Trap for Safety? Not that a weak safety program would necessarily be a deal breaker, but that the safety ambush of the parent company could be anticipated and better addressed. Safety professionals should be given the same opportunities as business leaders to plan a smooth transition of ownership and leadership in companies being acquired. Failing to do so can hit the bottom line soundly as well as cause severe PR repercussions.

Terry L. Mathis

Terry Mathis, Founder and retired CEO of ProAct Safety, has served as a consultant and advisor for top organizations the world over. A respected strategist and thought leader, Terry has authored five books, numerous articles, videos and blogs, and is known for his dynamic and engaging presentations. EHS Today has named him one of the '50 People Who Most Influenced EHS' four consecutive times. Business leaders and safety professionals seek Terry's practical insight and unique ability to introduce new perspectives that lead to real change.

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